The building that houses Chase’s Color Centre at 897 Prince Street in Truro was built in 1872 after the Wesleyan Methodist Church was moved from the site in 1871 to a new location on Pleasant Street. The church was moved by Mr. J. W. Johnson, who operated a store in the building that carried “a good stock of dry goods, groceries, etc.” In the May 12, 1875 edition of the Colchester Sun, a tailor by the name of Miss Sutherland ran an advertisement stating that she had moved her business to the corner of Prince Street and Waddell Street above the store of J. W. Johnson.
In 1892, J. W. Johnson sold the building to Stephen M. Bentley, who ran a crockery and tea business from the location until 1906. Mr. Bentley died on October 31, 1909 from the accidental discharge of a gun. Hollis Ryan purchased the building from Mr. Bentley in 1906 and turned it into a grocery store called Ryan’s Groceteria. A 1911 Plan of Truro from C.F. McAlpine of Halifax states that the store sold “family groceries, provisions, boots, shoes and rubbers, ham, bacon, lard, bologna, and sausage”. After Mr. Ryan’s death on July 17, 1917, his estate maintained control of the property until 1918 when it was sold to Herbert Johnson.
Herbert A. Johnson was a widely-known resident of 9 Church Street, who had been both a plumber and a sheet metal worker. He operated the Truro Foundry on Cummane Street for a number of years until 1939. After his retirement from the foundry business, Mr. Johnson was engaged in the real estate business for a number of years. He was born in Truro and lived in town for his entire life; he served on both the Town Council and the Truro Electric Commission and passed away on September 4, 1958. Mr. Johnson owned the building at 897 Prince Street from 1918 to 1922.
In 1922, brothers Walter and David Crocker purchased the building and opened Crocker Brothers Hardware. Walter H. Crocker was a prominent resident of Truro and was active in the business community for many years. He was once the president of the Truro Rotary Club, and had once served as secretary of the local Board of Trade. In 1940, Walter Crocker sold his portion of the business to his brother David and opened a new, similar hardware store at 24 Inglis Place. David Crocker continued operating the hardware store at 897 Prince Street until 1955.
In 1955, the building was sold to Gerald T. Quigley who continued operating it as a hardware store until 1963 when it was sold to E.W. Pauley Ltd. In 1973, Tibbets Paints Ltd. purchased the building, and it’s been operating as a paint store ever since. It changed hands in 1989 when Jim MacKinnon took over to run MacKinnon’s Color Centre, and again when Greg and Heather Chase purchased the building and business 16 years ago. Since the hardware stores that operated in the building also sold paint, Greg estimates that residents of Truro and the surrounding area have been purchasing paint from 897 Prince Street for at least 75 years.
Most recently, Greg and Heather made substantial improvements to the facade of the building, including brand new windows. “The Downtown Truro Partnership was a huge help when we did all the renovations to the front of the store,” says Greg. “We made the building a little more modern and gave it a little more character.”
Then and Now
The image on the left was originally published by The Chronicle Herald in 1962 and shows the BH Paints and Quigley’s Hardware store at 897 Prince Street. The image on the right was taken on March 9, 2021. Use the slider the view the differences between the 2 images.